Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose out front should have told you." - John Candy, Vacation

The Boy’s bike, such as it is. The dog ate the seat (and, ate the seat on my bike as well) last spring. The dog also ate our television cable. And live electrical cords. And pieces of 2x4 lumber. And broccoli. All of those are true except the broccoli. There are things even a dog won’t go near.

I could see early on that this would be a tough trip on The Boy. His little legs were in constant motion to keep his bike at a fairly constant 5.3MPH. I decided to try the oldest trick in the parental book – the old bait and switch. An elementary school was on the way, and The Mrs. was amenable to switching our ultimate destination. I convinced The Boy that we should go “look at the playground there.” My ultimate plan was to have the picnic there instead of the park to where we were headed. In my mind, he’d take a look at the park, and we’d picnic at the school, and save about eight miles of biking.

I’m so crafty.

We pulled up to the school. He looked at the equipment, said, “We’ve seen it, let’s go,” and started pedaling away as fast as his short legs could carry him. He is just as stubborn as The Mrs.

And just as stubborn as me. We continued on.

Another mile fell away under our tires.

The Boy: “This sure is farther than I thought.”

The Mrs.: “It’s a lot faster in a car.”

After another two miles, The Boy spontaneously started singing, “We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there . . .” from Smokey and the Bandit. I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of him, singing Jerry Reed, on a bike, in Alaska. I checked his backpack, and he did not have 24,000 cases of Coors. Perhaps he was running interference for The New Boy . . .

An hour later, we made it to the park. The Boy ran, jumped, played, and ate his picnic lunch. The New Boy was pushed around by The Mrs. on the swing.

The promised land park. If you're looking for The Boy, turn around. That's where he was when I took this picture.

It was cold all day. In the Sun, it was nice. In the shade, it was chilly. I managed to get the only picnic table in the shade. The park itself is a place where you would send your kids on their own – it’s Alaska, a place where there aren’t mandatory laws for every conceivable situation and people are mostly nice to one another. I looked over at The Boy while I was eating my sandwich and saw a gentleman we’d never met pushing him in a swing.

Finally, nature began calling all of us who didn’t carry external urine containment systems, like The New Boy. We decided to hit Safeway on the way out of town, and, um, check prices. Yeah, that was it.

We started for home in earnest. We drove another three miles, and finally The Boy could no longer sustain even the 5.3MPH pace he had been getting – his motor was burned out. The Mrs. and I made the command decision to stash him in the Baby Dragger with The New Boy.

This decision was not a consensus decision. The Boy took it as a personal affront to his dignity, and, in general, sounded like the Tasmanian Devil when The Mrs. put him in the Baby Dragger. He grumbled the entire rest of the journey.

It’s all math, really. The Boy’s bike has tiny wheels and a crappy gear ratio; one pedal from him puts him, say, 3.88667 feet down the road (I actually worked this out). One pedal from my bike in high gear (do I need another?) puts me about 15.54667 feet down the road. So, during the 50,160 feet or so he went down the road, I figure he pedaled approximately 12,905.66 times to my 4,075.472 times. All this math (these actually are real numbers, though based on wild assumptions, but are probably pretty close) makes me tired. All the pedaling made him tired.

It was up to me to carry his bike with me on my bike. If you’ve never carried a bike while you drove a bike, well, it’s possible, but harder than it might initially sound. I struggled with it (at one point the wheel of the bike was depressing my brake lever, so I was wondering what was wrong with my bike for a good half mile until I flopped the bike over my handlebars parallel fashion), and headed home. In retrospect, it was not nearly as hard as the time I climbed the Matterhorn clad only in a thong and clown shoes to impress Janet Reno.

We made it home. We were tired (The New Boy went straight to sleep) and, in general, had enjoyed a Rockwellian day of bike rides and picnics. And, I’ve finally managed to get Janet Reno out of my head.


Blogger SusanE said...

love the math calculations. I admire the Boys tenacity. Good for him (and you for carrying the bike home. Must have been a trick.

Oh and The Wife pulling two kids in the trailer.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Al said...

I was enjoying the story and trying to imagine how you looked with a miniture bike on your bike, and then I get blind-side with a comment about Janet Reno...yuck. Please, next time warn us about such comments, or better yet, in the future, refer to Jaclyn Smith (of the tv version of Charlie's Angels). Now I must go erase the Janet Reno image floating around my brain.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

If I lived in Alaska where gas is cheap and abundant (well, isn't it?) I'd drive a car going from the kitchen to the living room.

By the way, was Janet Reno impressed with your thong?

8:13 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

When you say chilly in the shade...is that like 20 degrees chilly?

9:34 PM  
Blogger John said...

The Boy sure showed what he was made of. Mainly, it's candy. But at least that's good energy.

Yeah, she was pulling quite the load, but I resisted the temptation to ditch her and leave her alone with the kids. That would have gotten me "The Look" for sure.

Heh heh heh.

Did I say Janet Reno? I meant Kate Jackson. Why? She was the smart Angel.

Nah, the price of gas is about the same. We just don't use as much as you guys do, driving 30 miles in, oh, four hours . . .

Janet liked the clown shoes better than the thong. Go figure.

duck hunter,
No, not really. I think it was about 38 or so, but if it was an object that hadn't gotten direct sunlight, it seemed quite a bit colder. Nobody but The New Boy wore a jacket, and he was safely in the Baby Dragger.

9:55 PM  
Blogger HP said...

The Boy needs some bigger, slick tires
....That should even it up a bit until he can pass down his bike to the New Boy. I can see a candy apple red bike with banana seat, a sissy bar and high rise handle bars.
(oooh, sorry, that's my dream bike)

2:19 PM  

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